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Liberal powerbroker was a harbinger of the new fascism
Lyenko Urbanchich 1923–2006

2 March 2006

Lyenko Urbanchich, who has died aged 83, was a symbol of everything that conservative politics stands for. A self proclaimed “Slovenian Patriot”, Urbanchich came to Australia after WWII to escape accountability for his actions in support of Nazi Germany during that war. He then found a comfortable place in the bosom of the Liberal Party, ever happy to embrace, as “good anti-communists”, the slime oozing out from the collapse of the fascist Axis.

While Robert Gordon Menzies, Hitler appeaser, racist and imperial toady, sought to recreate a conservative political force in this country after the United Australia Party self-destructed, the Chifley Labor government was knowingly admitting nazi criminals and collaborators as refugees. Australia’s spying apparatus, through ASIO predecessor, the Commonwealth Investigation Service and the immigration department vetted European displaced persons for admission to Australia. Two of the rules followed in this process were “No Radicals” (anti-Franco Spanish, for example) and “No Jews”, later changed to “no more than 25 per cent Jews”, showed the spirit of Auschwitz was alive and well in the hearts of Australian spooks, as it still is. As the filth of the Balkans and the Baltic, the blood of atrocities still dripping from their hands, came up for assessment western intelligence agencies eagerly sought these people as pliable and enthusiastic tools for their harassment of progressive activists in immigrant communities.

After 1945, the Chifley government found itself in an environment where the rightward push of the US under Truman saw the military-industrial security state dominate the postwar world, provoking the Cold War against the devastated Soviet Union, the Chinese revolution and progressive liberation movements around the globe. A military dictatorship was set up in Greece, de-nazification was stopped in Germany and fascists still dominated the police and military in Italy. Every species of reactionary from tinpot Latin American generals to the monstrous apartheid regime in South Africa was aided and abetted. Under the cover of the United Nations, institutions such as the World Bank and IMF were used to further the hegemony of the corporate capitalist system over the interests of global humanity and nature. Never too keen to rock the boat, Chifley signed the UKUSA agreement, locking Australia into the western security web and surrendering national sovereignty to the new imperial centre in Washington, and created ASIO, ASIS, DIO and DSD to enforce the interests of the ANZUS alliance against those of its subjects.

When Menzies was elected in 1949, his government set about implementing the apparatus of oppression, through the Communist Party Dissolution Bill, the sort of law that made Singapore, Malaysia and till 1994, South Africa, police states. Before the bill was thrown out by the High Court plans were eagerly drawn up for concentration camps and internment without trial of tens of thousands of politically and industrially active citizens on the grounds that they were “communist agitators”. Australia narrowly escaped becoming another South Africa when Menzies referendum to overturn the court decision was lost.

Into this maelstrom poured the Nazi scum of Europe, protected and used by ASIO to control and monitor the growing migrant groups. Together with the traditional domestic right-wing extremists of the League of Rights the cliques of fascists set up movements that aped their organisations in their countries of origin – the Croatian Ustasha, Hungarian Arrow Cross, Romanian Iron Guard, Slovakian Hlinka Guard and the Domobrans, the SS controlled Slovenian militia. Groups derived from former members of these were organised with the tacit support of the Menzies and successor Liberal governments, and of course ASIO. With officials of the quisling regimes of occupied Europe now also in the Liberal Party, pro-Nazis held significant power over preselection of parliamentary candidates.

In 1961 Garfield Barwick, future High Court Chief Justice and Menzies' attorney-general, declared “The time has come to close the chapter, allow men to turn their backs on past bitternesses and make new lives for themselves and for their familes in a happier community. Those who have made their homes here must be able to live, in security, new lives under the rule of law”. Barwick, a piece of shit both as politician and judge, saved the arses of some of the most egregious war criminals of the 20th century. No wonder Howard and Ruddock venerate him.

Lyenko Urbanchich, who styled himself a “sculptor and artist”, was a former Slovenian Domobrans commander who had produced pro-Nazi propaganda and incited atrocities against Jews, Gypsies and resistance partisans in Slovenia. In the 70s he headed the “Liberal Ethnic Council”, the front for the European fascists in the party. Together with local fascists from Opus Dei and the League of Rights his faction, known as the "Uglies", controlled up to 30 per cent of the Liberal Party State Council votes. Although exposure by journalist Mark Aarons in 1979 forced Urbanchic into the background, the Uglies continue to exercise considerable power in the Liberal Party, and are part of the power base of Tony Abbot, Bronwyn Bishop and our very own Vidkun Quisling, John Winston Howard. In the NSW state parliament, the Opus Dei connected David Clarke engineered the humiliation of John Brogden and despite denials, pulls the strings controlling Peter Debnam and the current state Liberal leadership.

In the post 9-11 world of fear and naked abuse of state power, Menzies’ dream of creating a police state driven by moral panic, racism, and wedge politics has been realised by Howard, Ruddock and all the loathsome creatures in the police and spy agencies that have tirelessly sought this result for the last 60 years, aided by their imitators and collaborators in that nest of liars, lackeys and class traitors, the ALP.

Making the world safe for corporate greed and expropriation is the New Fascism, and sixty years on, as Lyenko Urbanchich's overdue death is celebrated by activists for Freedom, Ecology and the Common Good, we are yet again reminded who the real victors of WWII were – the forces who bankrolled and supported Hitler, Mussolini and their acolytes both pre- and postwar. The enemy is always the same wherever they are, and that enemy is those whose hands are on the levers of power, and whose boots are on our necks – mostly white men in suits and uniforms. We must not rest till we are marching to victory on a road of their bones.